tv Obama CSPAN August 13, 2017 10:00pm-11:03pm EDT
organs to graham at book_tb or facebook.com/booktv. booktv obook tv on c-span2, teln for serious readers. good evening everyone in the director of the presidential library museum we are so happy to have you here tonight. we appreciate your support of this institution. it's a special plac place and a, thank you for being here for what is going to be a fascinating program before i introduce our great speaker i want to note a few things for you. first i'm a broken record on this pic you haven't had a
chance to see the cubs versus cards special rifle. considering that for a good cause all the backpacks go to underserved kids in the district 186 so please consider bringing some backpacks and please put on your calendars the all-american picnic table host on union square park on saturday august 19. saturday august 19. we will have a lot of food and activities ended the night will end with a showing of the classic movie filled with dreams
so please come in on august 19 for the continuing debate a sports team. thank you for being here it is my pleasure to introduce the speaker who serves as "the new york times" chief correspondent and in that capacity i'm assuming his boss must give them combat pay. i hope he does. peter is a terrific journalist having served previously for 20 years in the "washington post" where he covered the clinton and george w. bush presidency and served in russia, afghanistan, iraq and in 2008 began his work at "the new york times" serving as white house correspondent covering president obama and as that administration is ending, the times appointed him as the bureau chief in jerusalem independent victory of donald trump they called him back to be the chief white house correspondent. in addition to all of that because he doesn't have enough to do, he has a lot of wonderful books as well. he wrote a great book about the impeachment of clinton and if
you haven't read that you should. kremlin rising, all about vladimir and bush and cheney in the white house. as you can see he doesn't shy away from difficult topics. i got to know him during my service at the george w. bush library where we were all fans of the book days of fire. i thought that it was researched, evenhande evenhandes analysis and beautifully written, so i'm proud to call him a friend and a colleague and now of course the call of history about the presidency of a man from the land of lincoln who is redefining our history. i can't talk you how much we appreciate him taking time. please welcome my friend, peter baker. [applause]
>> this is a fabulous crowd i cannot thank you enough, my friend people you already he has done a fabulous job setting up the library if you've been interested i call my wife like a fan and was just excited. people were at the house when barack obama first announced presidency. okay. this is a crowd.
this is something. [applause] so i should be asking you questions. i don't give an audience like this very often. i can't imagine a place better to talk about barack obama kicking off a book about the presidency than here in the land of lincoln. as you know when he kicked off his presidency, he did is emulating the 16th president. he lost the white house campaign of course in the state house where lincoln began his career and he arrived in washington on inauguration day on the same route linking to and he took the oath on lincoln's bible and made a cabinet everyone talked about being a team of rivals much like lincoln's.
so there was this very heady moment of course as you remember and we thought here's another coming of abraham lincoln. but what was interesting is he wasn't the only bad we compared obama to. he was remarkable to see the analogies up especially in the beginning when we thought of him as a symbol of hope for the new generation he was cast as a jack kennedy with a beautiful family living in a house built in part by slaves and was an extraordinary symbolic break from the past a plus. we thought of him as fdr because he was taking over at a time to look like we might be heading into a new great depression and we were already in war in iraq and afghanistan. they put them with the cigarette holder and pinching his glasses. some people called him another george washington and the new
yorker did a cover of him with a powdered wig. remember that? some people compared him even to ronald reagan even though ideologically very different but the harbinger of a new political era. when things started to go back tbad,the comparison kind of chaa little bit. he was likened to lyndon johnson for sending hundreds of thousands of troops. some people compared him to dwight eisenhower and said he had a hidden hand presidency where he was quiet out in public avoiding military entanglements when things went really badly they compared him to richard nixon and said he was abusing his executive authority. on the left they said he was too much like george w. bush because he didn't do enough to change the strategy that they didn't much like and they called him a new jimmy carter and said he was kind of an elite intellectual in the middle east.
it ought to that poin got to thr interviewing one of the top aides about this and he said sometimes i think the only president we haven't been compared to his franklin pierce which is kind of good because he's kind of a drunk. [laughter] and barack obama was not. but that tells you a little about who barack obama was. we wanted to see in him many different things. he came on stage as a bit of a cipher and we didn't know him the way that you all knew him. he was a fresh face in the national stage as we could remember winning the presidency in our lifetime almost no other president spent more time in a statewide or national office in the position of power than barack obama had. there were two years in the senate before he started running and you know, i think that
stemmed from the fact he wasn't like the presidents we had before. they kept looking for comparisons because we wanted to be able to define him. he himself said that during the 2008 campaign he didn't look like all the presidents on the dollar bill. this is true. and of course that meant in some ways the reference to his role in breaking barriers. he was the first african-american president, but that of course was always going to be the first line but he didn't want it to be the only line in his obituary he was determined to be more of a complexion in the oval office. and you know, so beyond his status as an avatar of a new era, he managed to captivate and view the nation at the same time. they presented themselves as this champion of the new progressive era. he would bring healthcare to the university and argue for the case with the activist government why it could be the force for good in the society
and also as a nonideological. we are not a red or blue america we are all one america. and people's fault in him very contradictory things. they didn't necessarily reconciled to each other. it's hard to be a champion of liberal values and nonpartisan builder at the same time. as he himself said and i think that's right that is a good way to put it because people saw in him what they wanted to see and he was constantly defining and redefining and crafting his own identity. one of the things you see is this constant theme whethe cons. as david remnants remnants of our david madison's book all of them talk about this idea of identity about creating an identity to some extent obama's success was creating this identity for himself, first became a best-selling book, very well-written, thoughtful
discussion of race, society and the new generation. and then through the politics of the modern society like david axelrod, it was a constant creation and re- creation of identity throughout the rides but it was kind of opaque even to those of us that covered him. he didn't come back on air force one and chit chat with reporters or for his hand around and ask where his kids were. it was the opposite of his unfiltered vice president joe biden who would do all those things. he's up there right now. joe biden is a very authentic than whether you think he's good or bad, right or wrong on the policies whatever that is. he's what you see in public and he used to have every year a barbecue at the vice president's mansion and the reporters and staff put up these moon bounces
and squirt guns and water games oveall over the place and he wod run around the background squirting guns and the super soakers of all the kids. the first year, the kids actually getting tough on him and by the second year he figured it out and made them his posse. [laughter] that's not obama. that's not the kind of guy he was. he was a very reserved personality, intellectualized, thoughtful, that's just not his style. he's not like george w. bush. he didn't give out nicknames to people. he wasn't like bill clinton that charged at any crowd he could find. my favorite story about bill clinton he would go out and hit the road while the first lady waited because bush and biden and i'm sorry, bush provided in
and clinton got a charge out of people in the crowd and talk about was an introvert, the first introvert i think we had in the white house and maybe jimmy carter. he liked people, i'm not saying he didn't, but she didn't get in the crow crowd of maybe at the s did. the staff told me they would have to charge me five or ten minutes after an event for him to recharge his batteries because it would drain him a little bit. that's not unusual. that's normal for a lot of people but for politicians, it's unusual and one of the things that made him stand out as an unusual kind of president. but it doesn't mean that he was cold necessarily. maureen dowd come in my office, famously compared him to the character from star trek. if you remember, he was also have human varian human though t isn't a bad comparison to think of. there's the humanistic side just as. to each one of the presidents.
he liked to stay up watching sportscenter and was a fierce competitor on the basketball court, a real trash talker. he was jostled with these twentysomething-year-olds and then if they missed this shot, you know, he told ambassador to russia you've got to get it going. he had a side to him that we didn't see that was pretty powerful. in fact, he was a family man who made sure to leave the oval office by 6:30 every day to have dinner with his kids. he used to say one great thing about the white house is looking above the store he got to see his family more than he had on the campaign trail. he was very good about going to the girls basketball games on the weekends, so we did get the motorcade and go out there and wait in the car for the ambulance in the back while he's going and coaching basketball. and there's even the emotional l
moments. i remember very vividly when the newtown school massacre happened in a president obama came to the briefing room to talk about that and he just couldn't control himself. he couldn't. he lost his composure which i don't think we see him do very often. he started to speak and then he would pause for like eight seconds. you think about that it is a long time for a president to stand there and not say something and then he went on again and pause because he couldn't control his own emotional reaction to that, which again is contrary to his reputation. but he took over at an extraordinary time and with greater challenges. we were on the economic abyss, wars in the middle east and russia and at home he had ambitions to reinvent health care, energy, climate change climate control, government spending. and some of this he managed to
accomplish, but he also found himself the target of a conservative backlash. he saw this sort of team party rise but came acros that came ah houses of congress over the two elections. in fact, barack obama won the national elections and three others that really mattered to him. he lost all three. he lost the house in 2010, the senate in 2014 and of course whitwhitehouse in 2016. the country was in a sour mood for the presidency even before he arrived. there was an entire presidency. the gallup poll showed not once did the american public, the majority of americans say they thought the country was going in the right direction. a very sour environment to be governing. at one point, only 1% of americans were happy with the country's direction. he had a phenomenon where they were presiding over an era of
paralysis and polymerization. think about the period that even something as undeniably positive as hunting down and finally dispatching osama bin laden, only to produce a very short-lived sense of unity and consensus in the country. i guess partly because the economic recovery pulls back on the abyss, and it produced millions of jobs. cut unemployment in half. but it also left many people feeling behind and resentful. it clearly was this sense that he had represented a significant portion of the population as they saw the need in government. he became instead a change agent to many americans part of washington. i think in a lot of ways he is not the first president to come into the office promising unity
only to become a polarizer. all three presidents are covered before trump basically shared aspiration. president clinton in his second inaugural was used the phrase the repair of the breach. wanted to be repaired or. by that he meant the partisan breach in washington and within two years he'd been impeached and weaver in a very partisan argument over his conduct and what was the proper response to that. president bush came to office promising to the a uniter and not a divider and he wanted to be the case, yet the iraq war and other decisions he made the country was as divided as ever. and i think president obama was surprised to discover he couldn't fix that. one thing he said publicly that he regrets in one of the state of the union's, that is one thing that i underestimated how
divided we are and my ability to bring people together. but then that leads us to his successor, and who did not come into office promising to be a uniter and who has not governed as somebody that wants to unite clearly and therefore in some ways represents the country and the times as we see them today. we blame our politicians for our paralysis but in fact we ought to think about ourselves a little bit because they are representing us. these days we are more and more living, working, talking and existing in a bubble with people who agree with us. if you are liberal you watch msnba liberal you watchmsnbc coe conservative you watch fox. but it extends beyond our viewing habits. there's actually a breaking point. 800 people per square mile.
if you live in a place with fewer than 800 people per square mile you are twice as likely to be republican. if you live in a place with more than 800 people per square mile you are twice as likely to be a democrademocrats living with pee that agree with you that. the polls showe show in the eary 60s asked people what it bother you with your son or daughter married somebody from the other party. only about 4% or 5% said yes. and among democrats it was something like 35% said. and 50% of republicans don't want a democrat hanging out at thanksgiving. so we ca come ourselves are increasingly divided and i think that is the politics that has come to washington and president obama struggles with and has challenged i think the last three presidents we've had. president obama regularly issues don't come to his desk, only the hard ones and i think it's not
just true for him, that's for everybody. imagine that your whole time in office is dealing with the hardest questions possible. it got to the point where he was so beaten down by the hard choices in front of him that he and his first chief of staff rahm emanuel now the mayor of chicago used to joke they should move to hawaii and open up a t-shirt shack and they would have just one kind of shirt, one size, medium. it became a running joke every time they were in the situation room oval office with a terrible choice, they allow the auto industry, did he authorize this drone strike, rahm emanuel would turn and just say white and obama would look back and say medium. if it took a toll on him it didn't show very much if you
take a look at these pictures i think that he carried himself through the presidency with a lot of calm and plays. very differently than other politicians who are more expressive let's say. he rarely rushed into decisions. he sat alone in the white house late at night reading briefing papers were playing words with friends after his wife and daughters went to bed. the only indulgence he permitted himself as a handful of all men's. in fact his chest joked to my colleague and friend that he only allowed himself seven all men's, not six or eight, seven all men's and became a sort of running joke. the president denied that. sometimes he'd have six. after i think it taught us something. that was the joke is on shaft and wife used to make.
what started off as combatants seemed as many to be humorous. he started off promising that his election would be the moment the rise of the oceans begin to flow into the planet would begin to heal and by the second term he had radically revived his expectations and is staff i remember telling me maybe there aren't any more. anymore. there's only presidents trying to get through difficult times. but i thought it reminded us link and wasn't lincoln a procedure. if you look through the very active display of political cartoons in his time and newspaper coverage it was pretty tough. he was called all sorts of terrible things. people didn't necessarily love lincoln in all parts of the country and revere him the way we do today. so that is just the trial of being the president. you find yourself constantly second-guessed into scrutinized and criticized. often for good reason.
but it's no question a very difficult job and i think that for president obama, there were things he can feel proud of in his legacy for bringing the economy back from the abyss, lowering unemployment, getting bin laden, and then there's parts of the legacy i think he wishes he could have done differently. serious being an obvious example laying out a red line he didn't exactly enforce on the use of chemical weapons, his inability to stop that civil war and find a formula that would keep america from becoming entangled in another iraq is what he wanted to avoid that somehow stopping the situation with hundreds of thousands of people killed. and i think these are the lessons he learned and he got to the point where he sort of what lowered his own expectations and
realized presidents can't single-handedly changcansingle-d themselves but they can do the best they could and pass off to the future generation. he said to my friend david remnick essentially you are a relay swimmer in a river full of rapids and that river is history. at the end of the day we are part of a story we just try to get the paragraph right. so this is a at least i hope the first draft of this paper craft. with that i would like to open up and take some questions and see what i got wrong about obama and what we should be thinking. we have a couple microphones in the audience. we will raise hands and see, tell me who you are and give me your name and number, no, give me your name. [laughter] and we will have a good conversation. >> how about right here.
>> i was wondering if you can tell us what happened to all of those czars. >> one of the things president obama did is a point energy czar of all of them in the white house and state department and it's kind of a political fiction to make you think that they are going to do something. you're not the only one to do it. it sounds good. we will have cut someone -- have someone cut through things. he appointed wrong to supervise the response to evil what he made a difference. they did manage to at least stop the spread in east africa and keep spreading here in america. but some of it didn't work out and went back to the normal ways
of doing things. president trump has basically done away with this end in his house i think there is one czar and i think he likes to be the guy in charge and make sure everybody knows it. >> he must have other questions. come on. here we go. right here. >> am i supposed to tell you my name plaques my name is katherine harris. it's very nice to meet you. my question is do you think that one of the current president's things to do is to tear down the legacy that the previous president had? >> that is a great question. is the current job of the president to tear down the legacy of a previous president. i've written about this recently and have papers talking about the very subjects, so you are timely.
i think that every president comes in wanting to set a new production especially those obviously that are succeeding the president of another party. what i find striking is how much this president, president of trump's the plaintiff on doing things his predecessor had done. when dwight eisenhower became the first republican to come in after fdr and truman come he did not undo the new deal. he left it in place. nixon didn't undo the great society, he more or less left it. ronald reagan promised to abolish jimmy carter's department of energy and education but in the end he didn't. i think they wanted to move forward with their own proactive agenda and their own things they wanted to build. they definitely took things in a different course they didn't spend a lot of time on doing things. presidents trump his first six months has spent a lot of time trying to undo things. he obviously pulled the country out of the transpacific partnership trade agreement that the president obama negotiated.
he pulled out of the paris climate agreement that president obama negotiated a. he reversed him on the keystone pipeline, he has undone me a lot of environmental and business regulations. he's tried to reverse the health care plan and be dodd frank regulations and he's been critical of things like iran nuclear deal. i think that what they would argue, presidents trump would argue is like a real developer, you've got to clear off the lot before you can build a new building and clear out what they think are damaging or wrongheaded things that his predecessor had done and that that would be better for the country and he could come and build new programs he wants to build. but i think the risk is that you look like a negative rather than positive.
presidents want to be a positive force and i think that you see with the health care debate just this last week hi this last 24 hours it isn't so easy to undo things prepuce presidents have done especially if it involves legislators and other countries liklike the iran deal where presidents trump had a success doing things that were done by executive authority. he could do by himself without getting the congress to do anything and he could argue president obama basically made his own bed because he did a lot of things in executive authority when he got frustrated congress wasn't going along with him so you do things, you live by the strategy of president obama talked about by ten and phone. but the last 24 hours we see with healthcare congress isn't so easy to go along even when it's your own party and i think we've seen that effort now because anything could happen in
congress but i don't see how it could get easier. so that leads to the question if obamacare didn't survive what shape this again and is there going to be the need to do things to shore it up because some of them have trouble and senator mcconnell, the majority leader said we need to work with democrats to find a way to shore up the exchanges so people are not struggling with only one provider and so forth but i don't know whether the republicans and democrats come together that will be an interesting task. >> once president obama became president that was the beginning of the partisanship. i looked back at vietnam war and nixon and reagan and i didn't
see the ad and partisanship is that liberals and conservatives that are not going to talk to each other. >> the question for anyone that didn't here is did the partisanship get started with obama. i would say no. our country actually has been partisan from the beginning and that we built the system to be this way. we didn't say okay we have three branches of government and all of them after some extent cody called power. we made it harder to pass the law. not only do you have to have one house passed you have to agree and have the same worries and you send it to the president and he or she has to approve it so i think that we are building conflict in the system to start with and if you look at history there've been rough times.
you can walk around this great facility and understand how deeply divided the country has been at various moments obviously not every day do we have a civil war, but the issue continues to divide us and i think you mentioned in the period of great divisiveness and watergate and vietnam and we've had moments of great divisiveness in the past. i think what's happened though it has grown more partisan to some extent partly because the political parties since the 60s has increasingly drifted to their ideological homes. lbj was trying the civil rights bill through congress he worked with northern republicans and some democrats into was the southern democrats who were on the other side. now today all the conservatives more or less are one party and its more republican democrat than it used to be.
i am not sure it's not little conservative. and i think that different parties are appointed to different moments. it's the real stars of the polarization. a nomination when they went after him the democrats were so mean or clarence thomas or jim wright and newt gingrich or clinton's impeachment. anybody can point to the starting point and say from that point it became much more partisan. i think it's just been growing with each presidency. the last 30 years we have seen the rise in each presidency and it's been encouraged by a think we talked about the demographi demographics. if you are a republican congressmancongressman, you've h likely to be challenged on the right and you are on the left. so you have to worry about your conservative base and the same is true on the left if you're a democratic congressman you have to worry about the liberal base
more than the right so you're not as likely to work together on the bipartisan legislation because there is no reward for it. congress and politics is about incentives and disincentives and for congress at used to be that there was an incentive to be seen as bipartisan. today it is a disincentive. you are a soft liberal. as obama we forget about this because the numbers are higher today than they've been in quite a while. i saw he's as popular today as he was in the first year when he was still riding high but we forget a lot of the presidency of the liberals are kind of disappointed with him that he wasn't liberal. they forced the bus on option and was the counterterrorism strategy. so, i think that the incentive structure is the policy that has been fueled by social media, twitter, facebook, all these
venues that serve to pull us apart more and amplify the angry voices more. and i would say the media probably plays a role in that as well. we amplify that. people say we get all these death threats now and i think these people used to be out there but they had to sit down and actually write a letter and find an address and get a stand and walk it to the post office and it was a lot harder. when lincoln was angry he would write a scathing letter and put it in a drawer. he wouldn't send it until the next day and then she would feel better. no one puts a tweak in the drawer. [laughter] certain people which.
[laughter] journalists not so much a. can you tell us about your wife and family and also about gwen eiffel and maybe many of you have forgotten that we used to have something called a fairness doctrine which could have prevented rush limbaugh from having his show because it didn't have opposing viewpoints. >> the doctrine, gwen eiffel [inaudible] the fairness doctrine is sort of planted by the proliferation of media. i'm not a legal expert but the idea this was back in the day when we had three channels, a
couple major international newspapers and covers it. that was it. today if you want your voice heard, no matter how extreme, left, right, there are different ways to do that and this is rush limbaugh and others can get their message out. so i think the larger attitude on that today is as long as there's a marketplace of ideas that people have access to, that's the most important thing and by the way i think in general that's good. the proliferation of media is good and it's great to have the huffington post and the daily collar and liberal and conservative do that but what worries me is we only read those that we agree with. when i tell people if you watch msnbc and if you like it, great. every once in a while, turn on fox. i know, i know. turn it on anyway. [laughter] maybe it will get you up and going. [laughter] but i tell people that watch
fox, watch msnbc. and i think it's just healthy that we understand that other parts of the country see things differently. we don't have to agree with it. i'm not telling you to agree with anybody but it's healthy to understand how another segment of our country sees the world and what issues are important to them and what plans they are seeing things through and we will understand them better if they understand us better. but i think that we take a risk if we only read or watch things that we agree with. gwen eiffel, by the way, what agree with that. gwen eiffel of course my friend and host for so many years and buy a model of an amazing journalist, but this television journalist i ever knew, the best journalist i ever knew. what i loved about her was her curiosity and fascination with a story and the people behind them
and she just wanted to know things and figure them out and talk about them. if she had a partisan bone in her body i didn't know what it was. she was fair to everybody, very evenhanded and just cared about the issues and things that were important. and i loved being on her program every chance i got and i'm sorry she's gone but she left a great legacy we should try to emulate. my wife is the other greatest journalist i know it was the editor of politico until after the election. she founded the politico magazine which is part of what they do right now. both longform stories and magazines final journalism to ittwoof politico did before thae was editor of the foreign policy and i think alan mentioned that. she's an amazing reporter. today she does a weekly podcast and i urge you to listen to it called global politico. she brings in people each week, jim baker come, condoleezza
rice, fascinating people. so we have a journalistic household. you worry about bringing up a kid in washington and there is a danger to it. my son that i love more than anything in life went and played in the pool the other day with his kids and instead of marco polo they played marco rubio. [laughter] i'm like okay that's probably not good. marco, ruby go. [laughter] he said i wanted to get them to play mike pence but they were having none of it. [laughter] but he's a great kid and i hope he does something other than journalism. [laughter] he's 12. how about right here.
>> back to the polarization issue we've been having the last 30 years or more. where do you see it going and do you see any solution to it, will we be able to end it before it destroys us? >> that is a great question and one of the central questions of our time. i really don't know. you feel lik it at a certain pot it burns itself out and that we sort of say okay we have to find a different way of doing things. every moment that encourages people to say that diminishes almost immediately after a terrible act of violence but feel kind of come together to say we are all one country, we are all americans. we have our differences, civil and respectful and that lasts about five minutes. i don't know what event or issue would change the dynamic and i think the mechanisms are in place and the accelerant is
still there and i don't know how the changes. there are people out there who find that good. one thing president trump has shown us is we want him to fight and we think that the combination between right and the left or democratic made them too much like in the permanent class in washington that has taken us all for variety an a re need an outsider to break things up so they took a chance on someone who'd never been in public office before because they were so deeply frustrating in the existing system. they sat a bulldozer to washington and said the pair down the restaurant again. is it going to work out that way, and we will see how he adapts because it just doesn't work out that way. and i don't know how the public is going to respond. if the polls show he's at 36%.
but that could change. he's obviously a remarkable political figure and did something nobody would have expected. an outsider like him and we will see how he manages to take the six months he's had so far and translate in the next three and a half years. how about right here. >> i wanted to know do you think we know more than now what the reason why they should continue bush . policies in afghanistan that he retained the policies
and i was wondering if we know more now than about the excuses and reasoning that may be changed obama's mind. >> the question is about preserving what president bush had done. i think one of the things we get confused a little bit because here in the first term but inherits second term george w. bush and by that i mean bush himself had actually already moderated and changed a lot of the policies. waterboarding hadn't happened in the second term and also president obama comes in and bans torture but it already actually stopped. president obama wanted to close guantánamo and started off that path before he left office and got more detainees moved out of guantánamo and president obama did.
he got the congress to approve the surveillance program everybody objected to and the times broke a story about ultimately the safeguards and senator obama voted for it. so, the tribunals the court had rejected were recast and put through congress and congress bought into it. president bush spent a lot of time in the second term trying to moderate the program and get rid of the harshest extreme edges people objected to so republican or democrat wouldn't feel the need to throw it all out. cheney object and actually fought tooth and nail in the second term against a lot of the decisions he made and was upset about that. so in the beginning of the presidency when you see them coming after obama publicly what you saw was a proxy for the private side he'd been having for four years prior to that.
he could say things he would never say about bush that his feelings were more or less the same. the policy changes were dangerous and weak minded city and was closer to the beginning of obama and cheney would have liked. by the time bush leaves office the situation calm down a little bit in the security was better and he signed an agreement with the iraqis to pull the troops out by the end of 2011 but what did he do after office he did the same thing. he kept the schedule. there was more continuity between the end of pushing the beginning of obama if you just watch the campaign trail and listened. right behind you we had fun. >> [inaudible] we know mitch mcconnell said early on he wanted to make sure
president obama didn't have a second term. so from the beginning, that's what the republicans wanted to do. now the affordable care act, if they wanted to has been associated three times now, and another things he says the democrats want help us. [inaudible] do you think now that this has happened now they will get them to work together quick >> great question. one man's obstructionism is another man's principle of resistance. no question that republicans didn't have do a lot to help te republicans aren't doing a lot to help president trump and you could argue how much obama should have done more or trump should have done more to reach out. it is the nature of our times.
each party rewrites the rules to be more divided and then when the powershift complains about the roles they just put in place because the other guy didn't get to choose the same rules. so it's not surprising they weren't going to gwerenot goingg something they considered to be their biggest achievement. they didn't go along with president obama in the first place because they didn't agree with him on a lot of stuff. i will correct you on one factual thing. mitch mcconnell for better or worse said at the end of the second year of president obama's term he said in the campaign context if you put any democratic truth they would say the goal is to make him a one term president as well that is the nature of the partisan system. but a better example for your point might be that on the night of his inauguration in 2009 a number of republicans got
together including paul ryan and had dinner and began to lay out what they would basically call the resistance or obstruction or whatever phrase you want to use so they did in fact say we are not going to cooperate this is not a presidency we want to be a part of and i think that is because the incentive structure doesn't work. it does seem to me there are things both parties agree ought to be done to fix the health care system that even if you like obamacare, there are things liberals would have liked to fix and conservatives understand it's broken as well and there is a moment we might see it. mcconnell himself did say we might have to now work with democrats i know that is a hard thing to imagine that it is conceivable because without a legislative fix there are
problems out there and trump face it i'm going to let it fail and collapse and then they will come and want to work with me to. that's a very interesting attitude and i don't know how that will play out. i'm not an expert on health care policy but i don't think we've seen the end of the issue. i don't have a lot of -- i stop making predictions in washington. one reason is bipartisanship. >> i just can't help but bring up how much the country has been confronted with the issue of
race as being a strong catalyst to the obstructionism. and from the beginning of president obama's presidency, it has seemed that would be the undermining tone that nobody wants to talk about, and least of all him. what i see coming and i'm only 40-years-old so i don't have -- i haven't been through that many presidencies in my adult life. but the degree of the divide and the nature of the divide seems like nothing else ever before. people don't talk about the difference in policy anymore. we are talking about anger, hateful language, hating each
other. it's very deep and dark and depressing to me and what i see now and going forward is when i hear people very conservative or right-wing say obama was the biggest divider of them all, immediately what comes to mind is well, he didn't divide you that he made you face what you don't want to see. you know, what you don't want to admit, but you never would say in public which is this is not the type of president or the pre color of president i want and can't handle and that has to be turned everything upside down. my husband and i., my husband is caucasian and we always talk about is this the conservative old white man black man to just hold down everything and be as
hateful and a those racist and misogynist as possible and i feel like everything is turned upside down. nobody has empathy for each other. nobody talks about what's look at why we voted no for the health care plan. what did you not like about it and why did you vote no. no, what just come out publicly and talk about the fact you voted no. we teach our children to talk about issues differently than this, so can you comment on that? >> i appreciate the point. a certain part of the country did not like barack obama because of reasons of race, no question about it. we have not solved that issue. as much at this moment in grant park eight or nine years ago might have made us think we have moved, we have not moved.
i was struck that actually a lot of republicans found obama . election [inaudible] a lot of people voted for barack obama including i believe the top economic people who couldn't be bothered by what they saw on the other side. i think john mccain even when he lost found some good in the id of the country elected somebody there never would have been in the past even though he didn't want this particular election. then we saw what happened over those eight years obviously with race being such a big flashpoint and when the president was reluctant to address and didn't want to be an african-american
president. he wanted to be president of all people, judged and evaluated on the policy. he didn't want to be thought of entirely in the racial prism and avoided talking about it in the first term. in the second term he was confronting a series of events in the country that made it harder to ignore. he became more woeful about it. early on he felt burned by this skip gates episode. skip gates episode. remember this professor from african-american. comes to his home, arrested in his home by a cambridge officer. arrest was obviously racially charged into the president was asked about it at a press conference i think they acted stupidly and it causes a big fuss. in the white house we bring the
professor together and we already are. president obama doesn't want to have another set of people like that so he didn't talk about it for four years. with everything he didn't have a choice and began talking about it more and finding his voice a little more. and i think that we'll discover there's still a lot of issues out there. president trump obviously runs a campaign that at the least takes advantage of that and you could argue stokes said. having said all that, let's keep in mind that our ugliness of our politics didn't start with barack obama. critics accused the most extreme elements and accused bill clinton of murdering, running drugs out of arizona, all sorts
of things for which there is no evidence and in some cases as we saw there was misconduct but the extreme versions he'd taken them out of the park, extraordinary things he was accused of and by the way the same with george w. bush. he was compared to hitler. we talked about this play in new york. there is a movie the assassination of george w. bush. how was that several of course it is not. so i'm no i am not saying it dot play a role but the on delete for ugliness is part of our politics right now and that was one more element of president obama confronted or chose not to compound that he left office
feeling a little disappointed he wasn't able to do more and we haven't become a post-racial society and he didn't get everything done he wanted to. >> [inaudible] that's a great question. are they more a team of rivals or rivals. i think they are much more alike than we think. [inaudible] [laughter] [applause] i mean only he's a different figure and has a different file and is currently in office and that makes them different. if you watched the other night, bush and clinton got together at the center in dallas and had a talk and those guys were great
together. they were joking and having interesting insights about the nature of the presidency and the country and you wouldn't think they were of different parties and had battled in pretty tough ways. i think because especially when you leave office there's always people alive who had confronted the issues they confronted and choices available to them do not get any better if the other party takes over. the choices are still rotten to the core like medium. i think they understand and have more of a shared sense of purpose and experienced nobody else can understand and i think they do get along much better than they did when they are on office or campaigning because they moved to a different stage of their lives and nations so president obama likes clinton,
president bush 41, and i think jimmy carter to. look how much good friends jimmy carter and gerald ford became. he was the black sheep of the family and george h. w. bush calls him my brother from another mother. they end up sharing -- by the way when i covered them, i saw similarities but didn't have anything to do with ideology or politics. they were much more alike in the sense that they're sort of outgoing nature, their love of politics and being with people in the gregarious approach to the world. obama was like clinton in the sense that he liked to dig deep in the issues that a lot of times thinking about it, can't we just get to a decision. they had problems. once the decision was made,
obama was like beauchamp never looked back. he didn't second-guess or question things. it was neat and would move on. they have these traits in the experience broadly speaking is they are not and again this guy will be interesting whether he keys when he leaves office. [applause] >> the book is called job creation how it works and why the government doesn't understand it. you talk about a certainty factor in your book. at the time we wrote it in 2009,